Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo Q&A: 'Humidity' Director Nikola Ljuca Talks Funding Challenges, Film Politics

Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo Q&A: 'Humidity' Director Nikola Ljuca Talks Funding Challenges, Film Politics

Article excerpt

What were the origins of this project?

It started at Berlinale script station in 2011. After that, we got invited here to Sarajevo for CineLink and we received the ARTE international relations prize. We then went to the Boost! Lab, which is a cooperation between CineMart and Binger, for script development. In 2012, we won the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award prize at CineMart in Rotterdam.

People were really enthusiastic about the project, it's really different from films that are done in the region, it's not a typical post-war Balkans film. People were also afraid, because of that difference, and because it was from a first-timer. It was difficult to finance, the film centre in Serbia took two years to give us money.

When did you shoot?

It began in August 2014, but we had a big break of a month because we wanted to apply to Eurimages, and you have to have no more than half of the film shot to be eligible. We shot all of the exteriors first, then came back and did the interiors. In total, it took us five years to get the film finished.

Tell us about casting your leads...

Neither Milos Timotijevic or Tamara Krcunovic are stars in Serbia, I was very keen to not work with established actors, to me they're very boring and over-used. I worked with Milos on three short films, he's always been a supporting character in Serbian TV shows, but he's been prominent in theatre. Tamara worked in France, and was doing well in theatre there. I've worked a lot as a casting director, that helped.

Some of the scenes are in English, why?

Belgrade, like any big city in Europe, has a lot of foreigners living there. English is a second language to me, it made sense.

Were you conscious of making the film so it could play to a wider audience?

We had good numbers in Serbia, 13,000 admissions, and it's been bought for national TV. But for me, I really want to make the films I like, arthouse but not extreme arthouse. I wasn't obsessed with audiences, I knew that it would have a huge festival life, and now we are selling it to a couple of territories, it's steadily growing.

What's the state of film production in Serbia?

Now, after years, we finally have a Serbian film centre that is working properly. …

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